Holiday travel is expected to be lower than last year. With the coronavirus pandemic not yet under control, many families are staying home. This creates an opportunity for others who, suffering from a severe case of wanderlust, are itching to travel somewhere unconventional this Christmas.
Holiday Travel 2020: An Opportunity for Those Willing to Travel
While many travelers will choose to stay put this holiday season, many more will hit the road in search of new family traditions in a year that has turned just about every aspect of life upside down.
Travel and Transport travel advisor Heather Rude says this works for the benefit of those making holiday travel plans.
“Families looking to do a holiday trip this year are in for a different experience because the percentage of travelers will be much lower than what we have seen, which would alleviate much of the stress of holiday travel and also lower costs in comparison to other years.”
Travel advisor Abby Bebout seconds that idea, adding, “If your circumstances allow you to travel, now is definitely the time! The pricing is fantastic, and because many hotels and tourist spots are limiting capacity, you will avoid some of the crowds that would normally be there. Trips are sometimes upwards of 10% to 15% lower than what we saw during the festive season last year. Airlines are offering great rates just to fill planes and hotels desperate to recoup losses from months-long closures are aggressively seeking to fill their inventory.”
The message from both advisors to holiday travelers is simple - if you’re going to go somewhere, plan now.
Holiday Travel During COVID: Start Planning Now
Travel advisor Morgan Weiss says the first thing travelers should do is find out the local, city and state requirements of the destination(s) they are considering visiting.
“If you are planning a trip on your own, make sure you know what the requirements are for your destination around COVID-19. Each state and country has different requirements for entry, which may change after your trip is booked. You may be required to quarantine for 14 days, or take a coronavirus test to enter another state or country, and another test when you return home.”
Weiss recommends working with a travel advisor, especially to those who are planning travel for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic.
“If you’ve never booked with a travel advisor before, now is a great time to find one. We can help you navigate the current travel policies and mitigate your loss if your plans change. Determining what you may owe if you cancel or change your plans can be tricky.”
Amy Beyersdorf knows what that feels like firsthand. She and her family had a trip planned to Alaska when the coronavirus pandemic interrupted their plans. Their travel advisor, Carolyn Johnson, was able to help them reschedule their trip twice, without incurring any cancellation or change fees.
“We had a great experience with our travel advisors as there were plenty of bumps in the road with COVID,” Beyersdorf says. “She notified us when our original flights were canceled and helped us rebook. She provided us with options and great information to help us make decisions. After our plans were canceled a second time, she helped us navigate what flights were available to rebook the trip. Without her help, we probably would have just canceled the trip. Instead, we were able to enjoy an unforgettable vacation in Alaska, where we rented a cabin, went horseback riding, saw sled dogs, rode ATVs, toured Denali National Park, and even visited the Santa Clause House at the North Pole.”
While Beyersdorf was comfortable flying, not every traveler is. A common question on many travelers’ minds right now is whether to fly or drive. Travel advisor Morgan Weiss says airports may be busier than you think and that while airports are doing their part to keep passengers safe, travelers desiring more control, or who aren’t comfortable flying shouldn’t necessarily axe their travel plans. Instead, they should consider a destination they can reach by car.
“Travelers who drive to their destination will have much more control over their environment and who they come into contact with. Even though we will see holiday travel activity, there will be some individuals who forego traveling during this time. We need to support our family and friends who choose to stay home and skip their usual travel plans, but people also need to do what they believe is best for themselves. For some, that’s going to be traveling, even to somewhere new or different this year.”
Delightful Destinations to Explore, Domestic and Abroad
While traveling across the world may not be an option for most people this winter, exploring new destinations in Arizona, California and Florida, as well as near-abroad getaways to the Caribbean and Mexico, are popular choices for those planning holiday travel.
Sometimes, a hidden gem can be nestled right down the road. That was the case for Cameron Hunt, whose family canceled plans to visit Korea when COVID hit. Living in California, Hunt reached out to travel advisor, Jenny Serena, for ideas of local spots they could visit instead.
“We wanted to get out of the house while still feeling like we were on vacation,” Hunt says. “Jenny helped us find the Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, which was about an hour and a half drive away. She went above and beyond, contacting the resort concierge multiple times to answer questions, set up a cabana and secure other amenities for us. She was able to arrange a few perks, more hotel credits, slightly better rates, and land deals I wouldn’t have been able to get on my own.”
Are you ready to make travel plans? Explore your options with a Travel and Transport travel advisor today. We’re confident we can help you plan an amazing adventure.